Picnic Protest: ladies who lunch on the Circle line

McKay and Calvas face a wall of media Pic: @antoniolulic

McKay and Calvas face a wall of media Pic: @antoniolulic

Two Goldsmiths students took to the Circle line for a picnic protest yesterday, in response to the controversial Facebook group Women Who Eat On Tubes (WWEOT).

The group, which was founded by Tony Burke in 2011, began to hit the headlines following an article by Sophie Wilkinson, which prompted Lucy Brisbane Mckay and Alexis Calvas to hold a lunch on the Circle line.

When eastlondonlines spoke to McKay before the event, she was apprehensive of how it was going to turn out given the media attention it had attracted.

What if a food fight broke out between King’s Cross and Farringdon would the 21-year-olds be liable? Forgetting the most realistic of scenarios when travelling underground – service delays.

McKay laughs: “The circle line part was actually part suspended, such a fitting London story.”

“There were also about ten transport police at High Street Kensington. I mean, it is on their tubes so they have to make sure everyone is safe. They didn’t stop us, but we were definitely being watched.”

(Men) and women who eat on tubes Pic: Chris Coltrane

Men and women who eat on tubes Pic: Chris Coltrane

However, once McKay and Calvas managed to board the Circle line along with their fellow dinners it went without a hitch, even a couple of men joined the cause, including stand up comedian Chris Coltrane.

“To begin with there was a media scrum of photographers and journalists, but after that everyone just started chatting.”

“The WWEOT group also posted that they were not accepting any submissions from the Circle line, which just goes to show that they don’t want pictures of women eating.”

McKay says that there seems to be a growing interest in gender policing, referring to “don’t risk dudeness”, a television advertisement for Veet broadcast in the US which depicted women turning into men if they did not wax.

So is the Circle line lunch the beginning of a campaign career for the duo?

“A lot of people have asked that, and there seems to be a real interest about gender policing, but perhaps when I have finished my dissertation, and I’m sure Alexis would say the same.”

“However, I did notice in one article my occupation was listed as ‘woman who eats on the tube’ so that, coupled with the fact I have been on a number of protests, makes me wonder what lists I am on now!”

It was believed that the WWEOT group had been taken down by Facebook last Friday, however, a spokesperson for the social networking site it had been “accidentally” deleted, and when it was reinstated one of the group’s administrators had made it private. British Transport have received three complaints in relation to the group so far.


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